Nutrient intake is very important for athletes, especially when it comes to oxygen delivery. Iron is a key element in the process of oxygen delivery (Bernadot, 2012, p.181). Iron assists in capturing and transporting oxygen for use by cells, as well as removes by-products of metabolic processes (Bernadot, 2012, p.181). When we think of iron, we typically see the element as only a way to transport oxygen. It is rare for people to also understand the by-product removal capacity that iron performs. Decreasing the amount of iron within the body system could result in the build-up of metabolic by-product. Dietary intake in regards to macronutrients could also greatly impact oxygen transportation. A lack of protein or calories within one’s diet could result in a decline of blood transferrin. Transferrin transports iron for storage or creates new red blood cells (Bernadot, 2012, p.183).
A lack of vitamin B12 within the system can cause the creation of megaloblasts, cells with a weak membrane and half the life of normal cells red blood cells (Bernadot, 2012, p.184). With efficient levels of the vitamin deemed necessary, we could infer that nutrient intake would influence life expectancy for cells within the body. Adequate levels of vitamin b12 through food and/or supplementation is crucial.
With micronutrients playing a huge role in the transportation of oxygen, we must consider how the lack of vitamins and minerals come about. Diet and nutrient intake influences adequate intake and deficiencies. If one doesn’t ingest the proper foods to meet their micronutrient needs, one must supplement in order to meet those needs or become victim to deficiency symptoms. I suppose the general conception of macronutrient intake is to simply provide a means of energy, but we forget that those same substances contain micronutrients that can impact how oxygen is utilized throughout our body.
Bernadot, D. (2012). Advanced Sports Nutrition. Human Kinetics